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24.03.2014

Local election: A lot of alcohol and empty polling stations  ? 22

8:11, — Politics
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Local election: A lot of alcohol and empty polling stations

Belarusians ignored the local election.

Polling station No. 46 in Vitebsk's Pershamaiski district is one of few stations where several candidates were represented. Four candidates ran for a seat in the city council, five competed for a seat in the regional council. But voters were not very active, Radio Svaboda reports.

Polling station No. 46 and two neighbouring stations are located in Vitebsk gymnasium No.8. Most voters were pensioners. Sometimes propagandists went to nearby blocks of flats to remind people about the election. In such cases five or six people from the same house came, observer Tatsyana Seviarynets says.

An angry man came and said unknown people visited him at home and ordered to vote. It seems that teachers have to visit a number of flats. Sometimes there was no one at the ballot station, but sometimes groups of people from the same block of flats came. Another man was angry, because alcohol was sold at the station in the school building. It was a children's concert, and alcohol was sold nearby. Hrabouskaya, the chairwoman of the election commission and the winner of the title Person of the Year in Vitebsk, said that she had permission. She added she was a 'state person' and served the state.

Tatsyana Seviarynets spoke to journalists outside the school, because she is under special control of election commission members, who already issued two warnings to her for taking photos of preparations for selling alcohol and moving her table for better observation of the process.

Tatsyana says commission members scare voters with her. If someone comes with two passports, commission members explain they couldn't give two ballot papers, because observers were present.

The polling station has 2,165 voters. Observers counted 389 people, who voted early, while the election commission counted 399 people. About 400 people cast their votes on the voting day by lunchtime, Tatsyana Seviarynets says. The voter turnout is unlikely to be more than 50%, according to her.

Iryna Yaskevich, a candidate for seats in the city and regional councils, came to the polling station to watch the election process. She says voters recognise her: They smile and come to say hello. But I feel they don't care about the election. I saw several times that people go to read information about the candidates after putting ballots into the ballot box. It's an unusual approach. I've never thought it's possible, she says.

Maryna, the mother of two daughters, came to the school stadium to play with her children. She didn't visit the polling station:

I don't vote. I think there's no sense. I vote at presidential elections to be sure that I didn't vote for the current president. I didn't vote for him! What depends on the local election? They elect the person they need without my vote.


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